About Humminbird Company
If you see clearly and exactly, if the image is detailed and informative, if you can get the image on the screen by several means at the same time, so it’s the highest level of the vision from Humminbird.
Since the appearance in the 70th years of the first fish-detecting device, produced by the company Humminbird (the firm has chosen as its emblem a small hummingbird, having determined immediately that one of the main lines of development will be the miniaturization of the echo sounder with the saving and the development of its functional qualities. A hummingbird, although it’s small, but it’s a bird!) and up to present this company presents regularly not just new models, but new technological solutions.
The company Humminbird has always attended to the transducers, which are “the eyes and the ears” of any fish finder (sonar). That’s why you can find the fish finders using single-, dual-, tri-, and even 6-beam transducers in the assortment of the fish-detecting echo sounders Humminbird. The operating frequencies of the transducers of the Humminbird company are – 200 and 445 kHz. Higher frequency helps to discern more details, but less high frequency helps to determine more remote objects and coverage bigger territory.
One of the Humminbird company achievements is the creation of the fish finder (sonar), imaging on the screen a 3D image of the bottom under the boat. For the construction of the 3D imaging, requiring a lot of information, Humminbird uses hexactinal transducer. The ultrasonic beams, coming from the transducer, cross partially and it assures that there aren’t “dead spaces” not covered by the signals, between the beams, and the information corresponds completely to the reality. The system of the multibeam transducer working simultaneously on different frequencies with the exception of “the dead spaces”, – is a patented process of Humminbird, assuring a coverage width as well as a maximal detailing.
Humminbird fish finders are equipped with the processors of the Motorola firm, the name of which is a synonym of the electronic devices run of the high quality. Being powerful and reliable they think for you, transforming the signals and operating the echo sounder in the automatic mode, and you have just to enjoy the fishing.
Sometimes several fish, which are at the same time on the same depth, are imaged on the screen as one symbol. In such cases, a zoom mode will help you. And Humminbird offers really a true zoom, i.e. everything getting in the zone you want to zoom, increase without the distortion in the exact conformity with the real configuration, without only vertical or only horizontal extension.
Experienced fishermen turn off the mode at all, when the echo sounder determines itself what should be considered as a fish and by a symbol of what size it should be reflected. Then the objects in the water column are popped up not as computer reserved characters, but as real echo signals. Even the simplest model Humminbird 150SX shows the structure of the bottom. Except the surface contour, according to the point density and the tones of the grey color, it’s possible to determine the nature of the bottom: slimy, dense clay or rocky. You must admit that it’s a useful information, as different broods of fish choose different inhabitations. The image of the bottom structure is saved on the screen when the boat moves as well as when it stands still. In the last case, the same picture will gradually shift to the left, and the only, but good change on the screen in such case is the appearance of the symbol of the fish, which may be accompanied by the numbers, indicating the depth and the distance to it.
The experts of the Humminbird company believe firmly that a technology may be considered really perfect only in that case if it simplifies, but not complicates the work of the user. Taking in consideration that the fish finders Humminbird are equipped with the great number of functions, their operation is very easy. There is a button, by the instrumentality of which you can sequentially look through all the menu items: adjustment of the depth, sensitivity (less for the turbid water, in order to avoid “the bustle” on the screen, and more for the clear water), zoom, shoal and fish warning etc. The choice of the necessary option of the menu is made by two buttons: “up arrow” and “down arrow”. Actually, that’s all, if don’t consider the start button and the button that adjust the screen illumination (several levels) for the work in the dusk. More complicated models have VIEW button, pressing which you go sequentially over the ways of the information screening ( for example, for 3D Paramount: 3D, 2D, combined), and the button, by the instrumentality of which you can diagnose and change the general operational settings of the device, if the factory setting doesn’t suit you. And you haven’t to repeat all this every time when you turn on the echo sounder – it remembers all the meanings even when you turn of the device. All the models operate in the metric mode.
All the Humminbird models have:
- The identification of the bottom structure;
- FTSN screen with the special treatment, resisting the damages. The quality of the liquid crystal display is such that the image doesn’t pale even under the direct sunlight.
- Adjustable contrast of the screen;
- Built in imitating tutorial;
- Completely waterproof construction;
- The system of the remembering of the succession of the menu appearance with the automatic identification of the connected transducer model.
- The possibility to set the speed of the movement of the image on the screen;
- Simple fastener system of the monitor with the possibility of the turn in any side;
- Memory function (the memorization of the settings)
- The possibility of the complete remounting and the return to the factory settings
- Double power mode for the increase of the battery durability (movable variant)
- Built in diagnostic mode
Some Hummingbird Fish Finder Series
Humminbird Fish Finder PiranhaMAX Series
The PiranhaMAX Series – one touch is enough for the usage of the modern functions of the fish detector PiranhaMAX- Fish ID+, which solve the problems of the finding out of the fish, depth measurement, bottom contour vision etc. Choose one from three sonar beams: TriBeam, DualBeam or single beam. Each of these options has its own advantages of overview of the bottom.
In this series, you will always find a product that suits your style of fishing and financial opportunities. Technology ClearEdge Grayscale, the vertical resolution of 240 pixels and a enhanced of contrast guarantee more information on the screen even in direct sunlight. Simplicity and quality. That’s why PiranhaMAX is the most popular among anglers.
Hummingbird Fish Finder Fishin’ Buddy Series
The Fishin’ Buddy Series – use this device in your boat, in your friend’s one or from the moorage. Take this echo-sounder with you to the ice fishing during the wintertime. The unique structure of it allows to observe easily and exactly the milieu under the ice. The Fishin’ Buddy echo-sounders assure the maximal portability, ergonomic structure of the stringing clamps and ensures the usage of the device almost at any place without any difficult assembly and connection operations and even without sonar assembly. Of course, you will like monochrome or color screens with high resolution, and also powerful SideFinding sonar, which may be turned practically to any direction during the fish search. The tube of the sonar 60 cm long reaches the water from the mid-sized and small-sized boats or through the ice hole. Besides, you could choose the model with the telescopic tube 100 cm long!
The producer has seen to it that the device Fishin` Buddy was easy and simply to cope with: one element of the control One-Touch is used. It activates all the modern functions of the device. In addition, there is an option Selective Fish ID+. Six batteries “AA” type will be enough for many hours of the fascinating fishing.
Hummingbird Fish Finder SmartCast Series
The SmartCast Series – this product doesn’t resemble any echo-sounder you have seen before. Just tie the remote sensor of the sonar SmartCast to the fishing line. From now on, wherever you fish, you will see the fish, the structure of the bottom and even the temperature of the water on the screen. You will take advantages of the simple echo-sounder and at the same time, you will be able to move freely and to fish in any place you wish, even where it’s impossible to use other devices. Only imagine, would you like to know what is going on in the water during the fishing from the shore? You won’t believe what various uses this unique technology of wireless communication has. Soon you will not be able to imagine the fishing without the echo sounder of the SmartCast series.
The modern remote sensor RF 45 assures the mentioned capabilities:
- The survey of the depth is up to 40 meters.
- 500 hours of the continuous usage in the water.
- Taking the surface water temperature.
- The screen illumination during the night fishing.
- By the software approach you could choose the communication channel A/B and to fish the two (together), don’t disturbing each other.
Humminbird Fish Finder 500 Series
The 500 Series has exceptional qualities and incredible attractiveness. The echo-sounders of this series will help you to find the catch, meanwhile, doesn’t matter where it is hidden. This series is famous for its reliability! The echo-sounders Humminbird of the 500 series will be perfect assistants on the small river as well as on the large water body.
Choose the device with the necessary screen, which has the vertical resolution of 640 pixels and assures the crystal pure image. The devices use the Humminbird advantages of the Sonar Echo Enhancement technology. These devices are so sensible that you can oversee the lure at the depth up to 20 meters and also discern the fish in the distance of 7 cm one from another, even in the very dense vegetation. The sonar QuadraBeam PLUS, which was available before only for the owners of the expensive systems, now may be installed in the models of the fish-detecting devices of the 575-series and assures you a general vision of the bottom on the miter of 90 degrees.
Hummingbird Fish Finder 700 Series
The 700 Series – it’s an unbelievably distinct and clear image, vivid colors even in the sunlight! A unique fish-detecting device 700 Series with the high vertical resolution 640 pixels assures it.
You will appreciate every pixel, because the powerful DualBeam PLUS or, optional QuadraBeam sonar, or exceptional sonar of the side imaging with incredible image, resembling the picture, will show such fish and bottom structure, which remain unnoticed by other echo-sounders. Using the efficient 16-channel GPS-receiver, you will easily identify and remember the coordinates of the interesting points on the thousand of lakes and rivers. Exchange the points, the tracks and GPS-data in the real-time mode with other modules in the Internet, increase the productivity, connecting to the link of the wireless sonar, the control module of the rob holders CannonLink and other modules.
Humminbird Fish Finder 800 Series
The 800 Series – a fish detector echo sounder with a wide 7″ color ultra-modern screen with the high resolution of 480х800 pixels. The external 50-channel GPS-receiver, SI and DI technologies, the support of the Navionic charts.
Hummingbird Fish Finder 900 Series
The 900 Series fish-detecting devices with the wide 8“color screens assures advances anglers with vast possibilities on the water. The echo-sounders 900 Series will help you to find out the fish even when other devices turned out powerless. Using the devise 997с SI Combo you will get the exclusive sonar of the side imaging with the high resolution, reflecting the image of the bottom, resembling the picture. Operating this powerful traditional 2D sonar, you will be assured to have a commode vision of the sonar and navigation data on the split screen. The GPS navigation, WeatherSense and other complementary modules improve the incomparable quality of this sonar. A unique 3D technology, used in Humminbird 967с 3D Combo, shows the 3D image of the underwater world.
Humminbird Fish Finder 1100 Series
The 1100 Series an echo-sounder has a big color screen with the diagonal 10,4“, assuring clear and distinct image with the vertical resolution 600 and horizontal one – 800 pixels. Humminbird 1100 Series allows to apply the side imaging with the high resolution, assuring the image of the bottom maximally resembling the picture. The device shows you the whole image of the bottom on the miter 180 degrees. The water is a big world, that’s why the device with a big screen is a wonderful navigation means. 16-channel GPS system with the function of the travel routing helps you to find out the favorite places of the fishing. Besides, you can link additionally any modules for the improvement of the sonar qualities.
3 Hummingbird Fish Finder Reviews
Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C
Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C includes a Dual Beam sonar, a 3.5 inch display with a 240H x 320V resolution. The depth capability of the sonar reading is 600 feet. The fish finder is easy to carry because it weighs only 2 pounds and its dimensions are 8 x 16 x 12.3 inches. For this device a 12V battery is required.
PiranhaMax 197C Pros
- Dual Beam Sonar
- 5″ Display
- 240H X 320V Resolution
- 256 Color Screen
- 600ft Depth Capability
PiranhaMax 197C Cons
- The transducer cannot be mounted in the hull
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Color Fish Finder model will certainly not fail you. This Hummingbird fish finder is up to the task with its sonar reading of 600 feet under the water and an easy-to-use interface. The limited warranty on this device is 2 years. The color display gives a clear image of the fish, depth, and contour. The fish finder is really easy to use. You just need to mount the transducer on the side of the boat and that’s all the hassle. Still, you can’t mount the transducer in the hull, but it doesn’t change much the end results.
Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C DI
This Hummingbird fish finder comes with Dual Beam sonar, Down Imaging and a 3.5 inches color display. The sonar is capable of 600ft depth reading and Down-Imaging goes up to 320ft below the surface. The product weighs 2.4 pounds and it dimensions are 8 x 16 x 12.3 inches. This Hummingbird fish finder requires 12V batteries. The device also measures water temperature.
PiranhaMax 197C DI Pros
- Down Imaging and Dual Beam Sonar
- 5″ Display
- 240H X 320V Resolution
- 256 Color Screen
- 320ft Depth Down-Imaging, 600ft Depth Capability
PiranhaMax 197C DI Cons
- No advanced features
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C DI Color Fish Finder with Down Imaging model uses Humminbird’s famous Down Imaging software to provide you with clear picture-like images of the bottom under the vessel. This software enables everyone to easily interpret the information that is on the image. It is a more realistic and more readable return of the sonar signal and so it is very appropriate for beginners but also for professional fisherman who don’t like complicated devices with redundant features. With a limited one year warranty, you should give it a try.
This Hummingbird fish finder comes with a 200/83 kHz Dual Beam PLUS Sonar and a 5 incher monochrome LCD display with a resolution of 240v X 240h and a 12 grayscale level. The sonar is capable of an 800ft reading below the surface. The product weighs 3.2 pounds and it dimensions are 9.5 x 16.5 x 12.inches. This Hummingbird fish finder requires 12V batteries.
Humminbird 541 Pros
- 200/83kHz Dual Beam PLUS Sonar
- 800 Foot Depth Capability
Humminbird 541 Cons
- Greyscale display
The Humminbird 541 Fish Finder model is one reliable companion. It features an easy-to-use interface and great sonar performance of 800 feet reach below the boat. This device is ideal for family fishing trips. It is user-friendly and beginners can use this very device to earn their first fishing achievements. The only work required is that you mount the transducer on your boat and start getting that fish. This Hummingbird fish finder comes with a limited one year warranty.
Understanding Side Imaging and Down Imaging
To have one of the SI Hummingbird Fish Finder on your fishing boat not just as a tool for finding fish but to use as a navigational tool is really a huge advantage. Even if you haven’t been in a certain area for fishing before, based on the Side Imaging and Down Imaging captions of a Humminbird unit, you will be able to easily examine broad chunks of water from side to side your boat and find the big fish rapidly.
It usually takes quite some time, even a couple of hours to locate a good fishing spot. But with the Side Imaging system incorporated in the top Hummingbird Fish Finder, you can do that in minutes.
However, my aim for writing this report is to put into view how the Side Imaging and Down Imaging technology works, and how to understand the images that will materialize on your screen in SI and DI mode.
How Does Side Imaging Work
A standard sonar utilizes a cone beam to “look” in a straight line under your fishing vessel. Side Imaging sonar casts two slim beams, one on each side of the vessel, in a 180° beam under it. It covers a distance up to 240 ft on each side of your vessel. So, you will benefit from a 480 ft sight of what’s going on in the waters you’re fishing, you will be able to see clearly what objects are in the water, where exactly is their position in relation with your boat, and most important where the big ones are.
Significant to know here, most Hummingbird Fish Finders that have Side Imaging features also have DualBeam Plus sonar. This sonar normally works for waters of 1500 ft depth. However, the readability of Side Imaging is available only down to about 200 ft depth. In waters deeper than that you will have to work with the SwitchFire mode of the sonar.
How to Read the Images Shown in Side Imaging Mode
In the circumstances you just got one of the Hummingbird Fish Finder with compatible with Side Imaging, it will almost certainly take some time until you will become completely familiarized with it, and be able to interpret the returns properly. I, in fact, became able of understanding the images properly only after my third fishing expedition on the same lake, already knowing what’s sunken there.
However, with a little bit of rehearsal, understanding Side Imaging is quite straightforward. Your fishing boat is at the top of the monitor, so essentially the whole is formed behind your boat. The darker section in the middle of the screen is the info of the sonar beams as they travel through the water before they reach the bottom.
Structures, fish, mounds, and ditches on each side of the vessel will materialize in superior detail.
Rising terrain or hard bottom terrain appears lighter on your screen, while fallen terrain like underwater ditches, or softer terrain will appear darker.
You will see that various objects cast certain sonar shadows. The longer the shadow, the taller the object.
Fish show up on your screen, in Side Imaging mode like spindle-shaped objects, and balls of baitfish are shown as clouds. Fish also cast a sonar shadow, so the farther the shadow from the fish, the higher in the water the fish is positioned.
Anyway, to see better where they are, it’s best to move the boat above them and have a look with the Down Imaging mode.
Nearly all Hummingbird Fish Finders that have Side Imaging and Down Imaging also have the customary 2D sonar imaging. So, by switching all three types of imaging, or observing all three views in split screen, you will be able to find a good fishing spot in minutes and start fishing, while others are wasting their time wondering where the fish are.
In conclusion, why throw away your time searching for fish, when you can locate the big fishing game in a very short time?
Hummingbird Fish Finders are the best equipment for finding fish, and most of them can be utilized as trustworthy marine GPS devices, giving you a wide range of benefits.
Ok, now let’s take a look at the Hummingbird Fish Finders Down Imaging technology.
The truth is that Hummingbird Fish Finder with Side Imaging technology is more reliable than the ones which have only Down Imaging. However, once you become accustomed to the Down Imaging returns, a fish finder that has only the DI feature can be as reliable with one with SI.
Anyway, I’m writing this report to explain in a few words how Down Imaging sonar works and how to interpret the images displayed by the Hummingbird Fish Finder DI returns.
How Does the DI Sonar Work?
The transducer sends a sound beam into the water and every time it hits a structure, a fish, a rock, a tree or the bottom it, sends back an echo, and the reflection of that echo will appear on your screen. It basically works as the SwitchFire display, but with the accuracy view of the Side Imaging technology. Down Imaging shows everything that is directly under the boat, which Hummingbird Fish Finder that have this technology ideal to measure the dimensions of an underwater structure, a sunken tree or exactly how deep is a fish situated.
How to Interpret the Down Imaging View
Without Side Imaging it will be a bit harder to interpret the Down Imaging returns. On the DI display, the boat is placed on the upper right corner, at 0 coordinates, and the image is actually formed behind the boat, where the transducer is mounted. You should always mount it there.
Objects that will be “cut” by the sonar beam will appear on your screen, you will clearly see their shapes, and you will be able to distinguish what exactly they are. Trees, for example, or any other dense shapes will appear very distinct compared to the SwitchFire mode. However, you won’t know exactly on which side of the boat a certain object is, and you will have to make an estimation.
Just as in Side Imaging mode, baitfish appear like clouds or high concentrations of “noise”. Bigger fish, the ones that you should target, show up on your screen like spindle-shaped objects.
Down Imaging is quite reliable for measuring depth. It allows you to measure accurately how deep is every ditch, or how tall stands every mound that passes under your boat. Also, if you fish in waters with a high concentration of vegetation, you will understand perfectly where to cast, to avoid losing your lures in the aquatic flora.
Anyway, most of the Hummingbird Fish Finder have both Side Imaging and Down Imaging and combined with the SwitchFire display mode, you will basically have 3 views of the underwater world. This way you will be able to locate a hot fishing spot quickly and target only big ones. Also, you can view only the SwitchFire and DI in split-screen.
Hummingbird Fish Finder SI vs DI
Hummingbird Helix 7 Chirp SI vs DI Review
Helix 7 SI
This model is one of the most cost-effective units on the market. It is close to the top of the line for Humminbird but at half the price of comparable fish finders. The side/down imaging keeps up well because of the 2x increase in D-RAM.
The Humminbird Helix 7 SI GPS is packaged with the XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer (also known as the Compact SI transducer). If you want the best possible image from your Helix 7, then we recommend exchanging it for the HDSI transducer.
If you want depth highlight, casting rings, and water level offset features, the Lakemaster MicroSD card is best for this unit. However, you can use a Navonics Gold car if your region has limited coverage.
The sonar on this unit is 83/200 kHz and it has a max depth of 1500/100 feet. It is also auto chart capable. This means you can transfer your recordings to your computer and use the auto chart software to create a custom map of your lake.
The chirp frequencies available are:
- 83 kHz: 75-95 kHz
- 200 kHz: 175-225 kHz
- 455 kHz: 420-520 kHz
You can view your sonar with the SwitchFire feature. This allows you to control how your sonar returns appear with the Clear and Max Modes.
Helix 7 DI
This model is quite a bit less expensive than the Helix 7 SI unit but lacks a few features as well. It does not have side imaging, so your only view is straight down. It is similar to the Helix 7 SI but only has Helix 7 DI and 2D sonar.
The brightness and resolution of the screen help distinguish rocks, trees, and fish that a normal 2D sonar would miss. If you focus on fishing underwater structures, the Humminbird Helix 7 DI will work well for you.
This unit provides the XNT 9 DI T transducer which is transom mounted. If you wish to use it at your trolling motor, you will need to swap it out with the XTM 9 DI 25 T trolling motor mounted version. This provides mounting for the motor housing and also has features that prevent additional noise.
The sonar on this model is 200/455 kHz with a maximum depth of 600/350 feet. The internal GPS offers 2500 waypoints and 50 routes, so you can keep coming back to your favorite spots over and over.
You can also add an optional 50 kHz transducer for extreme deepwater use and to obtain 1000 watts. With this transducer, you can obtain the following frequencies along with a maximum depth of 2500 feet.
- Low: 28-75 kHz
- Med: 75-155 kHz
- High: 130-250 kHz
- 83/200: 75-155/130-250
- 50/200: 28-75/130-250
The biggest differences between the various Humminbird Helix 7 series fishfinder models are the frequencies, mount type, and GPS options. As you move down in models, you also lose some of the depth capability that the higher models possess. The baseline 7 series fish finder is only a couple hundred dollars less than the top of the line models. Humminbird now also offers models with Bluetooth and Ethernet networking capability in this series, so you can truly get a top of the line fish finder.
important note: I recommend you to visit the fish finder reviews page.
Helix 7 Conclusion
In the end, I have to judge these products by which would be the best value for my needs. I feel that the Humminbird Helix 7 SI version is the best value for my dollar. With the side imaging in this model, it is going to give you one of the most complete packages available.
We find that the options provided on these models make them all a great value. No matter what your needs are or how serious you take your fishing, Humminbird offers a fish finder that will get the job done. Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which one is the best fit for you.
I also recommend you to review the best humminbird fish finder page.